According to the US-based Total Quality Index, Audi is the top brand in the automotive sector for 2012, scoring 918 out of a maximum of 1 000 points in the recent Audi Awards.

With that, Audi’s new market niche is the Audi A7 Sportback, a sleek design with a sporty character and innovative technology, which has just landed in Namibia.

The smooth five-door newcomer with a sculpted rear design similar to that of the A5 fuses the key attributes of three different genres: The sporty elegance of a coupé, the comfort of a luxury sedan and the practicality of an estate.

The body, composed of mainly aluminium and high-tech steels, ensures low mass and high safety levels. The tailgate opens and closes at the push of a button and provides convenient access to a spacious boot. The 535-litre capacity can be increased to 1 390 litres if the rear seat backrests are folded down for more luggage space.

Standard with the Sportback come bi-xenon headlights and LED tail lights, as well as the innovative all-weather lighting function that has been integrated into the headlights, making usual fog lamps out of date.

As for the interior, the Audi A7 has electrically adjustable seats covered with Milano Leather. At the start of the engine, interior noise levels are extremely low, even when travelling at fast speeds. This means tranquillity while on the move.

Other highlighted features of the standard list include a dual-zone climate control, a four-spoke leather-trimmed steering wheel with multi-function controls, keyless entry, advanced park distance control with rear-view camera and a steering column electrically adjustable for reach and rake.

Just like Audi’s A8 flagship, the A7 Sportback also combines a new level of intelligence with logical and intuitive operation.

The advanced Multi Media Interface (MMI) operating system with central menu button and reduced number switchgear complexity is also standard. One of the options is a new head-up display (with touchpad input) that projects the most important information on the windscreen as symbols and digits rather than the driver straining their eyes looking down on the conventional dashboard.

Advanced systems

The standard MMI Radio Plus sound system features active loudspeakers and the Audi music interface, which allows for the seamless connection of external music players such as iPods and MP3 players. Bluetooth cell phone preparation is also included as standard. For music, it has an impressive sound system by Bang & Olufsen, featuring 1 300 watts of power and 15 speakers.

Active counter-steering helps the driver to keep the car in the intended direction of travel, allowing less intrusive, more consistent braking adjustments by the ABS braking system.

The new Audi active lane assist helps the driver to keep the A7 Sportback firmly on course while the new park assist system relieves the driver of the task of steering when parallel parking.

The car is offered with a choice of two powerful V6 engines: A supercharged petrol engine and a TDI turbodiesel unit. Both engines use Audi’s innovative thermal management system, an energy recuperation system and a start-stop system.

The 3.0 TFSI V6 petrol engine has a maximum power output of 220 kW, coupled to a torque peak of 440 Nm. Its highly efficient design affords a combined-cycle fuel consumption figure of just 8.2 litres/100 km while the CO2 emissions rating comes to 190 g/km.

Performance figures are equally impressive. The A7 Sportback 3.0 TFSI q S tronic despatches the 0-100 km/h sprint in just 5.6 sec and has a top speed governed to 250 km/h.

The second engine option is the 3.0 TDI V6 turbodiesel, which produces 180 kW and 500 Nm from its 2 967 cc capacity. Combined-cycle fuel consumption is an impressive 6,0 litres/100 km, with associated CO2 emissions of 158 g/km. The A7 Sportback 3.0 TDI q S tronic will accelerate from zero to 100 km/h in 6,5 sec, and also has a top speed electronically limited to 250 km/h.

A seven-speed S tronic dual-clutch gearbox is standard on both Audi A7 Sportback models while latest-generation quattro all-wheel drive with a crown-gear centre differential and torque vectoring are standard features, too.

The new A7 Sportback can also be ordered with several optional driver assistance and safety systems. These include the Audi pre- sense safety system, which can reduce the severity of accidents and their consequences.

All in all, Audi has emerged as a brand to reckon with as it has achieved a feat of achievements this year.

Awards for Audi in August and September 2012
• Three first places out of eight categories with A1 Sportback as the best model; A3 capturing 42.7% for compact cars and Audi A5 emphatic win over the off-roaders
• Euro NCAP: Audi A3 achieved the top five stars in the Euro NCAP crash test
• Q3 project manager, Ulrich Widmann, got the “Euro stars” award
• A3 in Auto Bild Design award was voted as the most attractive car this year
• The Q3 closed the awards with five stars in the Australian New Car Assessment Programme (ANCAP). Again, the SUV had already achieved the top score in the Euro NCAP last year. PF